When you are all set up and have decided you want to go ahead with your pilot training, you will need to figure out initially what your is plan regarding the kind of flying that you will be doing. Will you be just flying for pleasure, business or as a career? The significance of this is that it will affect your choice of how to find a flight school.
Basically, there are two types of flying schools:
- FAA approved school
- Non FAA approved school
The difference between the two is primarily technicalities. The Part 141 flying schools are more strictly regulated by the FAA and are subject to a periodic audit. Their course outlines must be approved by the FAA. These course outlines must meet the performance rates for student pilots. The Part 61 flying schools, on the other hand are not as tightly regulated by the FAA.
A Part 141 certification usually means a higher quality of training and higher standards with respect to flying equipment, personnel, facilities and the course outline. However there are excellent flying schools that don’t see the need for a Part 141 certification so they are considered non-approved schools.
For someone getting a private pilot license these is no distinct advantage in doing the flight training in either the FAA approved or non-approved school. If you go to an FAA approved school the minimum flight hours required for a private pilot license is 35 hours while it is 40 hours for a non-approved schools. This is considered insignificant as most flying students typically go for 60 to 75 hours of flight training anyway. When you go for your commercial pilot license though, the flight time difference is considerably larger – 190 hours for a FAA approved flight school and 250 hours for the non-approved flight school.
Pursuing a commercial pilot license might mean that you intend to make flying a career. If this is your intent right from the beginning, you might want to consider getting your flight training from nationally accredited pilot training schools. Accredited flight schools are accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and are subject to rigid standards.
Another angle to consider are the aviation college degree programs available from big colleges or universities. Enrolling in these colleges or universities might also make you eligible for financial aid or scholarships. There are plenty that are available out there which you can use for both your academic as well as your flight training. Graduating with a degree in aviation plus completing your pilot training and having that commercial pilot license will give you a huge advantage when putting in your application with the various airline companies.
Now you can see that it will really help you find a flight school if you can figure out what you want to do with your flying early on.